Monday, August 27, 2012

Vegetable Red Curry (Gluten-Free)

Some nights call for quick dinners. You know the ones - you have to be here and then there and don't forget to stop by that store that's on the way to this place. Or the ones when you get home from work famished and are tempted to eat the whole jar of peanut butter.

(Unless there's chocolate involved and you decide to jump straight to dessert, I don't advise the peanut butter option.)

It's always nice to have quick dinner fixing ideas on hand for those crazy nights (anyone else say that in their head in an Adam Sandler voice?).

Here are my all-stars: tomato sauce and pasta, instant soups, teriyaki mixes, aaaaaaanddd:

Curry sauce, courtesy of Trader Joe's. I feel slightly ridiculous posting a recipe for this, but I also feel that I owe it to you since we have this at least twice a month, with the contents rotating around seasonal produce.

From mangoes to sweet potatoes, the produce that you can throw in this dish is widely varied, making it a great dinner to save anything that is crying out on its last days.

While I mainly use Trader Joe's curry sauce since it only requires the one jar, I've also used curry paste mixed with coconut milk and a little fish sauce. However, since it's rare that I'm on top of my game enough to have all 3 of those ingredients on hand, the one jar suits me just fine.

Aside from the flavor, the best part of this recipe is that it comes together in 30 minutes, 15 if you already have the rice made and vegetables chopped. 

Quick and Easy Vegetable Red Curry (Gluten-Free)

1.5 cups cooked brown rice
1 small white onion, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 bunch of rainbow chard, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 can diced organic tomatoes 
1/2 yellow squash, diced
1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
1 mango, diced
1 cup red kidney beans
11 oz jar of Trader Joe's Red Curry Sauce 
about 8 basil leaves

1. Make your rice if you haven't already done so. White rice works great if that's all you have on hand.

2. In a medium skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat; add in the onion and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes until soft.

3. Add in the tomatoes (with juice), chard, squash and broccoli with 1/4 cup cold water; mix together and put some tinfoil or the wok lid on for about 5-6 minutes while the vegetables cook down.

4. Add the mango, kidney beans, curry sauce, and basil and heat through for another 3 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

5. Spoon some rice into a bowl and ladle on the curry vegetables.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blackberry Pie Bars (Gluten-Free)

I've recently had a major schedule change, which added four fatty, glorious hours to each of my weekdays. That being said, I feel like a whole new person. Like a vacationer that takes PTO but doesn't travel anywhere.

I get to go running in the morning.

I get to spend time with my friends, when we pick blackberries and then stuff ourselves with $2 beers + $2 tater tots (see you next Tuesday at the Cloverleaf!). 

I get to see my husband in the morning. and again in the early afternoon. oh, and yet again in the evening, when we get to have dinner together.

(Said husband is still determining if he likes this new schedule of mine.)

Just kidding, he totally loves having me around 35% more. Mainly because I get to bake these:

May I present to you: Blackberry Pie Bars, for your next gluten-free, blackberry-containing baking endeavor.

These suckers are addictive. Luckily, I'm the new girl at work and trying to earn some brownie (uhm, bar?) points so I brought some in for my co-workers to snack on...because of course I will use food to wiggle into your heart.

Lucky for you, blackberries are sprouting up everywhere these days (at least if you're in the PNW). I started picking them not having an iota of a thought as to what I would do with them, but let me tell you: the internet will not fail you. I'm sure you have such knowledge, but just in case you forgot: the internet has all the answers for all the things.

I found this recipe from our dear friend Martha, and it adapted to gluten-free flours perfectly. They are almost custard-like in the middle, and almost require a fork, but not quite. My edges turned out crispy, which were a nice contrast to the juicy insides.

I followed the recipe and used greased parchment paper as a liner, but I found it was difficult to separate the bars from the paper, as it was almost too wet from the oil. I would try simply greasing the pan straight-up, or using tinfoil if you don't want to bake them directly in the pan.

Blackberry Pie Bars
adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 16 bars

 6 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1 1/4 cups almond meal (separated)
1/2 cup potato starch (separated)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups fresh blackberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 baking pan (see lining notes above).

2. For the topping: In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar and 1/4 t salt. Add 3/4 cup of the almond meal and 1/2 cup of the potato starch and mix together until fully incorporated. Store in fridge while you prepare the remaining recipe.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup potato starch and 1/4 t salt with the baking powder. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, cream together the room temperature butter with the powdered sugar and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating after each egg. Add in the flour mixture and thoroughly combine.

5. Spread the batter evenly in the pan and sprinkle the blackberries evenly on top. Crumble the refrigerated topping on top, breaking it up into little pieces as you cover the berries.

6. Bake for about 40 minutes and let cool completely before cutting.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Simple Granola, Oil-Free | Gluten-Free |

These days, its has been too blasted hot to turn the oven on. Every night this past week, we either had a raw, straight-from-the-fridge, no-heat-required dinner, or we went out. Done.

Just as I was starting to get a little antsy and wanting to get crackin' on some new recipes, yesterday arrived with its cool 80-degree self and I jumped at the chance to turn my oven on. I know it sounds like a small occurrence, but it was a welcome move given that all I wanted was some breakfast granola but didn't want to sweat myself into a puddle on the floor for it.

I'm fairly picky with my granola. It obviously needs to taste good, but I also like it to have multiple components - a nice mix of grain, fruit, crunch is necessary. I like it when it's all in clumps, and not individual oat pieces. Just like Cream of Wheat! Anyone else a huge fan of lumpy Cream of Wheat?

This is healthier than your typically granola recipe on the sole basis that it doesn't have any oil to it. All the liquid consists of apple sauce, honey and peanut butter. It manages to stick together powerfully, which gets a big thumbs up in my book.

I bought millet for the first time at the WinCo bulk food department last week (I will save the profession of my bulk food love for now) and I am SO glad I did. It lent a nice, crunchy bite to my breakfast without being overbearing. It toasted up in the oven, which also gave it some great flavor.

 Simple Granola (Gluten-Free)
From Oh She Glows

2 cups rolled oats (ensure they're gluten-free)
1/2 cup uncooked millet
2 T ground flax seed
1 T chia seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon

1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
2 T peanut butter
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract

1/2 cup raisins

1. Turn the oven on to 325 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil or a Silpat.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.

3. To a microwave-safe bowl, add  the applesauce, honey and peanut butter and microwave for 30 seconds to warm. Stir together and add the vanilla and almond extracts.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and thoroughly combine.Pour onto the baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes, until slightly browned. You may want to stir it up halfway through the baking time so the outside edges don't brown.

5. Cool the granola entirely and store in a container or ziplock bag. Add the raisins and combine.